CARSON, Calif. — Following the postponement of Sunday’s game in New York due to Hurricane Irene, the LA Galaxy returned to The Home Depot Center training fields on Monday.
With the game in New York having been rescheduled for October 4, the Galaxy shifted their attention to Sporting Kansas City, their next opponent.
The last time the Galaxy faced Kansas City, Peter Vermes’ squad was rooted to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with just one win to their name. But, since losing 4-1 to the Galaxy on May 14, Sporting have posted an 8-3-8 record and leapfrogged just about everyone in the Eastern Conference to move up to second place in the standings, ahead of the New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union and Houston Dynamo.
“They have a lot of good players,” Galaxy midfielder Juninho said after Monday’s training session. “(Kei) Kamara is a player I need to focus on defensively. They have a good midfield, led by their number eight (Graham Zusi), who’s a good player too. We need to pay attention to him too.”
Sporting Kansas City, however, are coming off a crushing 3-2 home loss to FC Dallas in which they gave up three goals in the final 20 minutes of the game. That makes them even more dangerous, according to the Brazilian.
“Any team that loses at home, like they lost at home, wants to do better,” Juninho said. “I think they’re going to come out strong. I think we’ll need to be really focused. We’re going to do everything possible to win there because those three points are very important to us.”
Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders says next Monday’s game is particularly important given some results from this weekend, which saw the three teams closest to LA in the standings all earn victories.
“The focus now is Kansas City,” Saunders said. “We saw the results over the weekend and we definitely need to get another three points out of it.”
The postponement of Sunday’s game altered the scheduled, but also gave the players time to relax and recover, time they weren’t getting due to their involvement in the CONCACAF Champions League.
“It was kind of a welcomed break for us, obviously we’ve been playing a lot of games,” Saunders said. “It’s kind of disappointing not to stay in a groove, because we were playing a game every four days, but at the same time it gives us a little bit of break before September and October. It’s going to be a tough couple of months, so the days off were definitely welcome.”
Galaxy forward Chad Barrett put it this way.
“Obviously Hurricane Irene was a terrible thing for the East Coast, but for our legs it was actually a great thing,” Barrett said. “It gave us a chance to take some time off and recharge our batteries.”
“We have a lot to think about (this week) because Birchy (Chris Birchall), Keano (Robbie Keane) and Landon (Donovan) are all out (on international duty), so we need to restructure our lineup. And we have some injuries we picked up over the weekend.
“It’s going to take a lot of preparation, but coaches have been talking about stepping up, there’s a bunch of players that have been on the edge of breaking into the 18 and the 11 and now they are going to get their chance.”
The Galaxy face Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Monday, September 5 at 3 p.m. That game will be shown live on FOX Soccer and FOX Deportes.